Kimi ni Todoke Review

peek sadako

What would you do if a girl in your class looked like the girl from The Ring?  What if every time you seen her, you were afraid that the rumors were true.  That she might put a curse on you.  Or that if you looked into her eyes for 5 seconds, something bad would happen to you within a week?  On the flip side, what if it was all a misunderstanding?

Sawako happyStory
Sawako Kuronuma has earned the nickname Sadako due to her resemblance to the character in the movie The Ring.   Her classmates have feared and avoided her due to the way she looks and have misunderstood her actions in most situations.  Gradually, rumors about her have reached a legendary status. To the point of making her the most well-known person in school, albeit negatively.  With all the misunderstanding around her, Sawako Kuronuma has accepted her fate as someone to be ignored.  Living her life doing what she can to help as much as she can. In actuality she is a sweet and timid girl who truly wants to be accepted and help people. When one of the most popular boys in school suddenly points out that she is volunteering for the jobs no one else wants to do, things suddenly change.
GirlsThis is a romance comedy that centers around a blossoming love between the most popular boy and the most misunderstood girl.  However this is just the surface.  Quickly you will find that this show relies heavily on communication, judgement, and expressing your true feelings.  It finds its comedy in the awkwardness of expression and uses it as a tool to tell a truthful story of how hard feelings are to explain.  You’ll find Sawako to be quite socially awkward and constantly learning to accurately describe her feelings.  Though most people find her slow speech to be negative.  The theme of communication is set up, and the show delivers on it in spades.
The main gem of this series is Sawako herself.  Though her friends each have their own moment in the spotlight and each are very dynamic, no one will take center stage from Sawako.  Instead, each of the characters play a role in highlighting her dynamic and putting it into play.  You truly see how much effort the writers placed on every character and Sawako in general.  I did not notice any stereotypes being used at all.  Each character fit in and told their story in their own way. Using Sawako’s loving personality to bring out the best in each one.

kurumizawaWhile I emphasis on Sawako’s role, that doesn’t mean the side characters should be discounted.  Each is truly their own gem. I can’t say I could pick a particular one that stands out more than another.  Each character steps up when needed; even the rival is absolutely lovable. You will feel a loyalty to each one in turn as they are more fleshed out.

The show also excels at creating emotion.  Angst, judgement, pain, happiness, patience and relief. I felt that this show capitalized on it well and used it to its full potential. It used it to study on all these keys, showing each one in turn. Episode per episode I was constantly feeling a wash of different emotions. Frustration, happiness and even the occasional tear.

That all being said I need to point out the comedy.This is a rom-com and there is comedy.  I downright found it refreshing. It took a lot of the edge off the more dramatic parts. Pointing out misunderstandings is where this derives most of its comedy from. Nothing is misplaced or hindering of the main story. In fact if I had to say anything, it added to each of characters in turn.

sadakoAnimation
This show has the shojo flair for beautiful artwork. Every aspect is given extra care. From flowing hair, to excellent eyes. My only minor misgiving is that with some characters the lips are a little too exaggerated.

Animation is not entirely a main focus when you are worried about a slice of life rom-com. So to say it is standard says quite a bit. Simply put, the focus of animation is placed where it’s needed.  Dramatic pauses are used to save money on unnecessary points.

Overall the show is beautiful.  Softer colors are used to make the world feel inviting, while special care is given to the characters to make them shine.  There is a feeling of grace and intelligence given to each character while still keeping a vibe of innocence.

Sound
Kimi ni Todoke has a beautiful soundtrack to invoking emotion as needed for storytelling. It does a good job of mixing soft and simple music to accent situations well. From the opening that flows into the show with a feel of discovery. To a outro song that feels of innocence. Misunderstanding moments are reflected with a goofy feel. Comedic points are pushed with light and upbeat feel. Heartwarming moments have a loving piano accent.  It also managed to create some interesting moments of ambiance.  One notable scene used wind blowing for silent drama.

Winter sawakoConclusion
This is a loving story, told with tender care. As I said before, it is obvious that the writers and animation staff love Sawako and truly wanted to make her shine. I have to say, they pulled it off well. The character interactions in every way were believable and generally heartwarming. If you cannot tell from my gushing, I loved this show and highly recommend it.  Even in the second season when I started questioning whether or not I should suggest the second season, I realized that this show was showing something in me. Truth be told, the second season was only icing on the cake.

This show is one of those gem shows that me and my brother talk
about that you find once in a while that make you examine yourself. It made me reevaluate communication. I want to be more patient and let people communicate with me.

As a simple love story, this works. As a character examination on communication, it works.  I have a hard time finding things wrong. On a side note, to further cement my love for this story, I will be continuing into the manga soon. This is a gem and I wish I had known about it a long time ago.

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

REVIEW VERDICT:
Highly Suggested

Pros:

  • Sawako
  • Characters, dynamics, and interactions
  • Excellent and believable story telling
  • Honest and memorable story
  • Underdog to Social butterfly undertones
  • No Fanservice

Cons:

  • Lip art
  • Chibi character comedic events
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. Chris has been a fan of anime for over 20 years. Once amassing a huge collection of DVDs during the DVD boom, he's consumed hundreds of shows and isn't looking to stop any time soon.